Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Manga review: Blood+ Adagio, Volume 2

Blood+ Adagio, Volume 2 (Blood+ Adagio #2) by Kumiko Suekane
Manga*Paperback, 164 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Dark Horse Comics (first published January 1st 2008)

For the three hundred years that the Romanov dynasty has been in power, they have led Russia through an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, but recent peasant uprisings and a sickly heir have destabilized this once-proud royal family. In a desperate move, the Romanovs have unknowingly employed one of Diva's original Chevalier - whose motives are not to cure the ailing Prince Alexei Romanov, but to create an army of perfect, blood-craving Chiropterans Using his influence to gain test subjects, this mysterious Chevalier has performed horrifying acts in the name of science, and he now has Hagi, Saya's Chevalier, in his clutches.

 On the eve of the Russian revolution, it's up to an unseasoned and unsure Saya to save Hagi, destroy the Chiropteran experiments, and track down her murderous twin sister before a horde of warrior Chiropterans are set loose to terrorize the unsuspecting Russian masses But first, Saya will have to struggle with her conscience if she is to be strong enough to kill those of her friends who have been turned into monsters.

The summary pretty much reveals what goes on in this second and final volume, closing out this particular story arc. The third Blood+Adagio is a completely different story. Now that Saya knows what is going on with the royal family and that Diva is involved, Hagi has gone missing. Poor Hagi is brutalized this go-around and I felt for him. Diva's Chevalier has plans of his own which come to light and Amshel, Diva's original Chevalier and handler (the only one she listens to and respects like a father) decides to take care of the priest/chevalier. Members of the royal family and the chamber orchestra are destroyed as plans to make them chiropterans fail. Diva makes Prince Alexei a chevalier, then wonders what happens to him when he realizes the power inside of his body. Unknown to her, he seeks out Saya, wanting to know why she wants to kill his Diva. Hagi is reunited with Saya and David and a few employees of Red Shield show up.

People are injured, monsters are beheaded and destroyed, blood is shed. What is important to note about these two volumes is the hesitancy of Saya. She knows she is the only one who can kill the monsters, but she does falter and isn't always quick to act. As usual, Hagi is her rock, coming to her aid (even if it's something like cutting her hair, comforting her, or tossing her sword to her). Diva doesn't seem to change much. She is child-like, always seeking her pleasure and not caring what her creations can do to the innocents. She can be out of control until Amshel reins her in, soothing her, and making her more complacent. 

The artwork is once again strong and vivid. From uniforms to ornately decorated rooms to Diva's crazed look,  Kumiko Suekane captures the emotion of the various scenes on the page. My favorite pages were the last few with Saya and Hagi and I loved how the very last image is of the vampire queen and her chevalier holding hands. After she earlier asked him if he would kill her once she destroyed Diva, this image cements their relationship, their mutual admiration and love. 

This volume did leave open the possibility of the chevalier Amshel tried to kill but survived, open for another story. I don't grow tired of Blood+ and wouldn't mind seeing more installments of manga or anime.

Rating: 4

Cover comment:
If there's blue roses in the picture and a girl with long hair, we know that's Diva. Here she is in her eternal state of perpetual happiness. This does rmeind me of the cover from Blood+ Vol. 4 (Manga by Asuka Katsura and Camellia Nieh).

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